"It's an honor and a privilege to work for a great man. He was a true friend and mentor to everybody; not just the coaching staff, but players and administration"
The opening words in an exclusive interview with SDSU baseball coach Mark Martinez, words that give some insight into the kind of man Tony Gwynn was.
"We're going to miss him," Martinez put simply.
Gwynn had been with SDSU baseball for twelve seasons, and when he passed away on June 16th the news did not come easy for Martinez.
Martinez had been alongside Gwynn for nine seasons with the Aztecs and the two had become close friends. Martinez gave high praise to the man known by many as 'Mr. Padre', recognizing the impact he had on San Diego State.
"Coach Gwynn impacted the whole university in an extremely positive way. His twelve seasons here not only as a coach, but as an athlete. He's impacted thousands upon thousands of people that have come to the university, not only as athletes but students as well."
Next season will be the first in which Gwynn won't be manning the dugout and Martinez wants to make sure he is not forgotten.
"We have a lot of guys coming back who grew up with Tony and the program and I think our players will definitely have something planned for Tony Gywnn... We'll find out how we can honor him the right way."
Martinez will assume full time coaching duties in the 2014-15 season with plans to carry on in Gywnn's footsteps.
"I'm going to carry in his honor, I'm going to carry the torch. I'm going to continue to carry on the values and culture that he has built with this program. It's my job to carry that baton and keep it the way he wanted it to be."
He realizes it will be no easy task.
Best put by Martinez, "It's going to be very difficult to fill that void."